WARNING: The following article contains SPOILERS for Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is primarily appealing because it gives Star Wars fans an unprecedented glimpse into the origin story of a certain Han Solo. But, like any Star Wars film, it also introduces a bunch of new characters — catnip for Star Wars fans. Some of these are all the more enticing because they helped shape the scoundrel/rebel hero we’ve grown to love. Let’s take a look at the characters making their Star Wars debut in Solo.
Clarke told Entertainment Weekly that the pair “grew up as comrades, essentially. They grew up as pals, partners in crime. There is obviously the romantic side of things. But they grew up together. So they were kids together.”
She teased that “something has happened” for her to disappear from his life. That ‘thing’ was a separation at the hands of Imperial officers as the pair attempted to flee Corellia. Han gets away while Qi’ra is left behind. Qi’ra is positioned as the femme fatale, a character seen in film noir who is defined as an enigmatic, seductive woman who draws men into danger with troublesome consequences.
According to Entertainment Weekly, she’s a woman “of many identities”, with Clarke herself saying: “She has a couple of guises but essentially she is just fighting to stay alive. If you’ve got a really glamorous lady in a really sordid environment, you kind of know the glamour is hiding a few rough roads.”
She’s a woman who does what she has to do to survive in an environment filled with dodgy characters. And though we don’t learn exactly what that has entailed during the three-year period they were separated, we infer that she’s done things to ingratiate herself with some pretty shady characters. Characters that include a villain we’ve seen before in the franchise.
This is the character you might have seen in the trailers wearing the bladed/spiked battle helmet. Enfys Nest leads a rival gang to Tobias Beckett’s, a band of pirates after Beckett’s haul of coaxium. The end of the film reveals her to be a woman. Enfys Nest is a character who first featured in comic books in the old Expanded Universe. She led a gang known as the Cloud-Riders who rode swoop bikes and terrorised villagers. The Cloud-Riders is the name of her gang in Solo.
Co-writer Jonathan Kasdan said: “To understand who Enfys is, you first have to understand who Woody Harrelson plays, which is a character named Beckett who is a highly trained very lethal criminal. He’s a real pro who is into big jobs and he runs a crew. But one of their competitors is a sort of more pirate-like gang and the leader of that gang is Enfys Nest.”
Her crew end up teaming with Han Solo to thwart Dryden Vos, and the very end of the film reveals Enfys Nest to be one of the sparks that ignites the Rebellion.
It’s not clear-cut throughout the bulk of the film whether Tobias Beckett is a good guy or a bad guy but we do know that he’s a kind of mentor to Han Solo, with director Ron Howard saying he shapes Han more than anyone else. He offers words of advice to Han, and warns him not to trust anyone. He also teaches him a lesson about shooting first — something that famously comes up again in A New Hope when Han comes face to face with Greedo. Beckett is a pivotal character in the story, since the plot revolves around Beckett recruiting a team of criminals to carry out a heist.
He’s a charismatic scoundrel and a “very tough criminal”, according to screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. And also that he’s based on Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Han Solo, meanwhile, adopts the Jim Hawkins role, taken under the wing of the wily, older, more experienced operator. But ultimately, Beckett betrays him and winds up shot and killed by Han’s hand.
For a more in-depth dive into Tobias Beckett, click here.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy also told Entertainment Weekly: “She’s tied to Beckett, that’s how Han meets Val. They’ve been partners a long time.” Val and Beckett are romantically involved.
Thandie Newton revealed in an interview with Radio Times that her character is significant.
“I’m the first woman of colour to have a prominent role in the Star Wars legacy,” she said. “There have been others with one line and Lupita Nyong’o was a computer-generated character [Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi] but you didn’t get to see the colour of her skin. I’m the first.”
Val ends up nobly sacrificing herself for the greater good during the train heist.
This strange-looking droid is sidekick to Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian, apparently his Millennium Falcon co-pilot. Played via motion capture by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, L3 is the first ‘female’ droid in the franchise.
She has enhanced herself over the years, adding on scavenged parts from other droids. And following in the footsteps of original comedy droid double-act Artoo and Threepio, as well as Rogue One’s K-2SO, she’s “hilarious”. At least, so say both Lawrence Kasdan and director Ron Howard.
Originally played by Michael K Williams who had to bow out when reshoots were required due to scheduling conflicts, Dryden Vos will be brought to life on screen by Paul Bettany. A crime lord, he looks to be the most likely candidate for villain of the film – with a scarred face that recalls bad guys Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke from the main franchise. Sharing a surname with prequel-era Jedi Quinlan Vos, could Dryden Vos be Force-sensitive? FANDOM Managing Editor Chris Tilly explores Dryden Vos more fully here.
You may have caught a glimpse of this alien character in the Solo trailer. Durant is Ardennian, a species known for having four arms. He works alongside Tobias Beckett and is voiced by Jon Favreau in the film.
Other characters we’re aware of but know little about include Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna, a pair of popular comic book characters. Tag will be played by Jon Kasdan, while the role of Bink goes to Rogue One and Solo first assistant director Toby Hefferman.
Then there’s Moloch. Looking a little like Enfys Nest at first glance, Moloch’s role is said to be less significant than Beckett’s rival. He’s a member of a gang known as the White Worms. And let’s not neglect to mention Therm Scissorpunch — a lobster-looking character with pincers for hands.
Solo: A Star Wars Story hits screens on May 25.